Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers 8/18/20: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers Matchup Preview
The 1st round of the NBA playoffs has begun, and one of the more anticipated matchups of the 1st round is set to begin. The 1st seeded Los Angeles Lakers will take on the 8th seeded Portland Trail Blazers in a best of seven series. While many other first-round matchups were decided days before the final day of the regular season, the 8th seed in the playoffs came all the way down to the wire. Portland had to defeat the Brooklyn Nets in their last regular-season game to make the Western Conference play-in game. They narrowly defeated Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies in that game, punching their ticket to face LeBron James and the Lakers. While going up against the King is never an easy challenge, many believe that the Trail Blazers pose the biggest threat of any possible teams that could’ve taken the 8th seed. Portland is led by Damian Lillard, who has carried the Blazers into this position thanks to a scoring explosion in its last few games. Both of these teams have stars and plenty of offense to offer, which leads me to believe that Portland could potentially make this an interesting series. At the same time, however, the Lakers are the #1 seed in the West for a reason. Despite how this series goes, I still believe it could be an interesting one to watch.
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: HP Field House, Orlando, FL
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Lakers Starting 5
The Lakers are coming into their 1st round matchup against the Trail Blazers after an underwhelming eight seeding games. Los Angeles went 3-5 in their seeding games, which is unexpected for a team named the 1st seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers did defeat the Clippers, Jazz, and Nuggets in the games that they won, but most of those games were still relatively close. The team also scored under 100 points three times in bubble play, which is unexpected of a team led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, now that the playoffs are upon us, I expect the Lakers’ level of play to increase. LeBron has been known to coast somewhat in the regular season, especially if his team is in a good position to make the playoffs. We have seen James take his play to another level in the playoffs, most recently in 2018 when he averaged 34.0 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game in the postseason. The Lakers also missed the playoffs in James’ first season with the team, leading me to believe that James has something to prove. Critics have stated that he wouldn’t replicate the kind of success he had in the Eastern Conference in the West. LeBron would love nothing more than to silence his haters and prove that he can win in the Western Conference. With that in mind, I expect the Lakers to win Game 1 convincingly and for James to elevate his play to another level.
Trail Blazers Starting 5
Trail Blazers Analysis
The Trail Blazers are coming into this game following a long and difficult road to the playoffs. Portland entered the bubble not in the 8th seed, as Memphis had a considerable lead on them. Whichever team sits in the 8th seed at the end of the regular season would get the advantage of only having to win one out of two possible play-in games. The Trail Blazers were able to rally behind Damian Lillard’s stellar play on the court and put themselves in the 8th seed at the end of bubble play. They then defeated the Grizzlies by four points and punched their ticket to face the Lakers in the playoffs’ 1st round. One of the bigger storylines in this series is how Carmelo Anthony is back in the playoffs. Facing his longtime friend and 2003 NBA Draft class member LeBron James will be interesting to see play out. The other storyline for the Blazers is the play of Damian Lillard. He has been scoring at an insane rate for the Blazers, and they are on a four-game winning streak as a result. If Dame can keep the scoring coming against the Lakers, I think they have a legitimate chance to make this a competitive series. The Lakers knew coming in that Portland would be their toughest draw, and the Blazers are hoping that they can shock the world and continue their improbable playoff run.
Lakers vs Trail Blazers Fantasy Basketball Angle
For the daily fantasy basketball angle for this game, I decided to highlight Anthony Davis. While this series is filled with fantasy potential, as there are many great scorers on both teams, Davis is the player that stands out in this game to me. The Trail Blazers usually start Zach Collins at power forward, and while he is a talented young player, he is certainly no Anthony Davis. I believe that Davis will exploit his matchup against Collins and thrive in this game. I can see Davis leading this game in both scoring and rebounding, as he is that dominant of a player. The Trail Blazers’ main strength comes from their backcourt, not their frontcourt. With that in mind, I think that Anthony Davis could be in store for a big game. If you have him on your fantasy team, start Anthony Davis in this game.
Lakers vs Trail Blazers Betting Odds
Lakers Odds: -245
Trail Blazers Odds: +200
The Lakers are favored to win this Game 1 matchup in the first round of the playoffs, and that is expected. Los Angeles finished the regular season with the best record in the Western Conference, only losing 19 games. While I believe that the Trail Blazers give the Lakers the toughest matchup in round one, I still believe that the Lakers could win this game and the series quite convincingly.
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